Forgotten Lessons Of X-COM - Video

Some other user (sorry, but I lost your username, so can’t give credits!) shared this no Discord, and thought it was just too cool to not share here.

It’s very interesting, like this idea that not seeing your soldiers faces adds to this tension build-up.

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Yep, I think I would agree to near 100% here.

I typically handle it this way: Rookie or low rank or not the best soldier (attributes, perks, …), I don’t mind if he/she dies, but if it is one of my beloved ones, I will restart the mission. :wink:

It was so frustrating sometimes if you explore the map and get oneshot from an alien far far away from the other end of the map (with a f*** pistol) or just sneaking around the corner. Or just turning around with your last APs and seeing lots of aliens.

The micromanagement was great, hope we will have plenty of it in Phoenix Point, I don’t want only the strategy layer.

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I’ll give Phoenix Point a go with Ironman enabled. The save scumming is great and all, but the real tension comes from knowing you won’t be returning from the mission and won’t be able to do anything about it.

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The big question is, will it be possible to restart mission even if you play in ironman mode? In X-Com 2 you’re just able to do so if you enable the console, so not by default.

Maybe there will be two types of Ironman? One who allows mission restart, like Fire Emblem games, and a pure one that doesn’t allow any restart whatsoever

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Surely, if you restart a mission it is no longer Ironman mode? The point of it is to not reload.

Though, I do see an appeal of an option to toggle a custom option to keep mission restarts in - if you want to prevent yorself from savescumming, and yet don’t want to loose a campaign to a sloppy play.

I must disagree that not seeing faces = cannon fodder and less attatchment: prevents savescumming.
I don’t quite agree, but it might be because I would name every single chump, making my care for every one of those slaughtered buggers. If course one with my name would be quick to die, no matter how try I would try to shield him.

This lack of visual distinction has some serious drawback though - as soldiers looks the same, it is pretty tough to remember who is good in what without constantly checking their stats.

This “view of units as expandable” has less to do with visuals and more with gameplay I think. In UFO: Defence you manage many many soldiers. Both vanilla XCOM1&2 punish swapping units, resulting on you using a very limited range of them - in my case it is a full squad, plus some randos who had to full in throughout the campain - wounds and deaths are rare enough, so you are likely to go through 80% campaign using the same units. Loosing soldiers is frustrating, because it drops your combat effectiveness significantly and it take long time to train a replacement.

Long Wars and WotC don’t suffer from this issue, because they constantly force you to swap units - both because of exhaustion mechanic, longer woulds and more varied and tough mission design, ecouraging specialised builds.

I couldn’t disagree more. It might prevent save scumming, but that’s only because you don’t care as much and therefore there is less tension, not more.

One of the beauties of XCOM is that you get to name and customise your squaddies as much as you want, and therefore you start to care about them, big time. That means that when you take them on a mission it matters if they die, and therefore every corner, every shadow, every *!£%in’ Sectopod or Chryssalid is a potential deathtrap and the tension as you decide whether to expose yourself and attack can go through the roof.

Interestingly, I stopped playing BB4 because of the Base Defence bugs and went back to LW2 recently. In LW2 my A squad is so powerful that if I get it right I have a more than 100% chance of controlling a Secto and can damn-near one-shot a giant muto Chryssalid. They are even more OP than a skilled-up PP Squad with full kit and damn near limitless Willpower - but because they have names and histories and real faces, I care about them and experience a level of tension when they are in danger that I have yet to experience ever in Phoenix Point.

That’s also how it should be. Anyone who says that squaddies should be expendabe has obviously never experienced combat command or read accounts written by combat Commanders (I should add here that I’m not saying the original poster of the video was claiming this, in fact he claims the reverse). Every great Commander in history cared about his men. Didn’t mean that they could limit casualties - there are times when you have to sacrifice your best troops to achieve the objective you are after - but any game attempting to simulate the burdens of command simply hasn’t done its job right if you don’t care whether your individual soldiers live or die.

I’m hoping that when PP goes live, it will be able to replicate the sense of tension that I get from a good LW mission, because its mechanics are much better than XCOM’s and I want to love the game. But ultimately, I’ll go with the game that makes my heart pump in my throat when I’m putting my Peeps asses on the line rather than the one that plays the smoothest, because for me that’s what the game is all about.

Nice video. Thanks for sharing.

The part that resonated with me the most was that the original UFO Defense was lightning in a bottle born of the times and the technological limitations of back then. Anything that tries to replicate the feel of the original through copying the mechanics will fall short. Better to aim to recapture the spirit of the original with newer, modernized mechanics.

The Firaxis XCOM games arguably suceeded in this respect. While Phoenix Point is a throwback in many regards (given the time unit system and ballistics/physics simulation), it is clearly something that makes use of modernized presentation and tropes to be at once something new and something familiar.

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I don’t really agree that faceless soldiers increases tension, I think more tension comes from attachment to your troops and that individual characters within a game leads to more attachment. (NB I wouldn’t exactly say that modern X-coms create a great feeling of attachment either btw, Jagged Alliance probably did it more than any other TBS for me but then Jagged Alliance had characters with individual personalities, not just name and faces)

But I also have always felt that save scumming completely strips any amount of tension from a game regardless of how much character your characters have. - I want to get attached to my troops, and experience the feelings of loss/anger/pain/thirst for revenge when I lose them… not just reload to the last turn again.

There should ideally be an option to turn off the ability to restart regardless of difficulty.

Options in general allow more players to play a game how they want to - I’d love, to just be able to play a game at normal difficulty, but with actual consequences for squad members’ deaths.